22 May Titre Testing
Routine vaccinations in dogs has been one of the most significant factors in the reduction of serious and deadly canine infectious disease such as Canine Parvovirus, Canine distemper virus and canine adenovirus – 2.
While all vaccines are necessary the frequency in which they are administered has been debated.
In Australia core vaccines for canine distemper virus (CDV), parvovirus (CPV-2) and canine adenovirus-2 (CAV), are commonly administered annually.
Vaccines are intended to vastly improve health and welfare of animals and are highly tested as safe when administered per manufacturer guidelines.
Unfortunately adverse reactions do still occur and can range from mild lethargy and fever to more severe reactions such as facial swelling or skin rashes. Severe allergic reactions can result in vomiting, diarrhoea or collapse, through to true anaphylactic reactions. Anaphylactic reactions result in collapse and loss of blood pressure in your pet. This can cause death if not treated immediately. These reactions are not widespread but do occur from time to time.
What is a titre test?
A titre test (pronounced TIGHT er) is a laboratory test that aims to measuring the presence and antibody level to disease in blood. Antibodies are produced when an antigen (like a virus or bacteria) provokes a response from the immune system. This response can come from natural exposure or from vaccination.
Why to titre test?
More and more owners are becoming concerned that they may be “over- vaccinating” their pets and Dr Google provides a lot of conflicting and often untrue information that has created hype against vaccinations.
Titre testing will provide a platform for owners, with their vets’ professional advice, to make educate and informed decisions on their pets’ preventative health management.
How is the Test Performed?
We are using Vaccicheck Immunocomb Titer Test which is a quick in-house blood test that measures your pets level of antibodies against core diseases. It essentially gives us a way of ‘measuring’ your cat or dogs immunity.
Do I need to vaccinate if titres are high?
The titre test only measures antibodies, not cell mediated immunity, which is the real world measure of protection. Some pets may test as a negative (unprotected titre) and still have a perfectly adequate cell mediate immunity or vice versa and each individual titre result has to be approached with an individual protocol.
An animal’s surrounds, husbandry, travel plans and surrounding animals with potential varying vaccination status’ need to be taken into account. The fact that in certain areas parvovirus is endemic i.e. Northern Territory thus more virulent and in other areas where anti-vaccinators have a higher population diseases such as canine distemper virus need to be considered before creating a protocol.
This will be a discussion to have once results are in with your veterinarian. However the aim is to move away from standard protocols in favour of a tailored approach for each pet taking into account the above mentioned individual factors.
WSAVA guidelines 2015 recommend that core vaccines should be given every three years after the initial puppy and 6 or 12 month booster injections.
Duration of immunity can vary but can be many years and in some cases the lifetime of the pet.
However kennel cough, which is not a core vaccine, is still recommended yearly at the time of your pets yearly health check.
What do the tests cost?
This will vary in each veterinary clinic thus it is advised to contact your preferred veterinary clinic to be advised on price.